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Covid-19 Updated visiting arrangements for care homes 2021

Monday, 10 May 2021

Covid-19 – Updated visiting arrangements for care homes

10 May 2021

The wellbeing and safety of our residents and staff remains our most important priority. We have continued to monitor changes in guidance from Government and Local Authorities including the recent revisions to guidance concerning external visits for residents from care homes.

Following careful consideration of the guidance published, we are pleased to confirm that we will be supporting residents in leaving their care home to spend time outdoors, without subsequent isolation for 14 days.

Lateral flow tests and risk assessments will need to be completed by both the resident and designated visitor prior to the external visits. These tests should be completed at the care homes prior to the external visit. In all cases a negative test must be recorded by both the resident and the designated visitor. Visits must be rescheduled in the event of a positive or inconclusive test result. External visits should not occur if the resident, designated visitor or essential care provider is currently self-isolating, has tested positive or experienced symptoms of Covid-19 in the past 14 days or where they have had contact with someone else meeting these criteria.

In leaving the care home, Residents may be accompanied by:

  • A member of care home staff where staffing levels can be safely maintained, for example, a walk for some fresh air or as part of an agreed outdoors social activity; or
  • One or both of their designated visitors only. Current guidance for people outside of care homes does not apply, such as six people meeting in a garden (the rule of six). This is due to the increased risk of exposure to the virus and the fact that only designated visitors who have undergone a lateral flow test should be having contact with residents; or
  • Their essential care provider (where applicable).

Additionally, the following guidance must be observed at all times during the course of the external visit:

  • Staff members, an essential care provider and designated visitors should wear masks at all times during the course of the external visit;
  • Residents should be encouraged to wear a mask wherever possible;
  • Hand sanitisation must be carried out both before leaving and on return to the home, as well during the course of an external visit;
  • Social distancing should also be maintained where possible;
  • Hand holding is supported but other contact such as kissing, or hugging should not be promoted at the current time;
  • Visits should take place solely outdoors, except for the use of toilet facilities;
  • There should be no visits to indoor spaces (public or private);
  • Outdoor visits should not involve the use of public transport;
  • Trips out in a car with the designated visitor can be considered as part of the risk assessment and should also follow other established guidance including the use of masks within the car, lowering car windows to maintain ventilation, and maintaining distancing between the designated visitor and resident within the car.

Care homes will discuss arrangements with residents’ designated visitors, or essential care givers in advance of each visit outside of the care home. External visits should be booked in advance using our online booking portal where possible to ensure that sufficient staff are available to carry out risk assessments and lateral flow tests. If necessary, external visits may alternatively be secured by telephone with the Home Manager. 

Out of an abundance of caution, after returning to the care home, residents should undertake lateral flow tests on days 2, 4 and 6 after the day of return.

Visits out of the care home which do not meet the criteria above will need to follow the previous guidance on visits out of care homes including guidance on the need for residents to self-isolate for 14 days on return to the care home.

The Home Manager may postpone or pause external visits at any time without notice, for the safety of all, or as instructed by Government or Public Health. Situations where this might be required include where a positive COVID test is reported within a home or where there are a high number of cases, or rapidly rising levels of infection within the community. This may result in visits being cancelled at short notice, but we will do our best to give as much notice as possible. 

We would once again like to thank you for your continued patience, support and consideration.

If you have any questions, please speak to the Home Manager in the first instance or email corona.helpline@akaricare.co.uk

 

Karen Harkin

Chief Operating Officer